January 12th 2012 marked the second anniversary of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti, resulting in the death of over 300,000 people marking the worst humanitarian disaster for 65 years. Two years on, the billions raised to help rebuild Haiti has not been used to help Haiti and 600,000 people are still living under tents and tarpaulins. Women and children are being raped and sexually abused in these camp cities in Haiti. And now to add to the horrendous conditions that the people of Haiti live in, they are fighting against an outbreak of cholera introduced to Haiti by the UN by infected Nepalese soldiers.
We attended an event at the TUC Congress House to commemorate and fundraise to help Haitians help themselves. The event titled ‘Haiti: Year Zero + 2’ was organised by the Haiti Support Group, Trade Union Congress, Haiti First Haiti Now!, Reparations Campaign, Caribbean Labour Solidarity, Global Afrikan Congress, United Haitians in the UK, Operation Futureproof, Pan Afrikan Society Community Forum and RMT. This edutainment event combining activism and edutainment was very good and well supported on the night.
Neville Lawrence, who had recently got some justice for the murder of his son Stephen Lawrence 18 years ago was in attendance. David Neita and Zena Edwards gave a tribute to his persistence and determination to seek some justice for their son.
We met up with our multi-talented friend Akala who would perform later at the event and engaged in a good discussion about the over representation of young black men in the prison system and our love for books amongst other things.
After networking in the lobby we went into the main hall where the main action was.
Mario Joseph who is Haiti’s leading Human Rights lawyer gave a brilliant address highlighting what is really going on in Haiti. He stressed with apology that France and the US are the countries behind Haiti’s impoverishment. Never do they speak about how the US removed all the gold from the Haitian Central Bank. Haiti paid 15 million francs to France after the Haitian Revolution. Since 2004, Haiti has been under military occupation by the US. Mario asked the audience to question the information that we receive through the mainstream media and to seek the truth about the conditions in Haiti. He went on to say that mainstream media are feeding us lies about Haiti. One way to have solidarity with Haiti is to seek out information. The Haitians need our solidarity to get out of the situation they are in.
We sang and danced away to the sounds of Alexander D Great and Debra Romain, Carmen Rodney, Dennis Bovell and Akala with Ashebar & the Afrikan Revolution. The drumming with the call and response from Asebar was a good way to awaken the spirits in aid of Haiti. Nothing beats live music! The young prince playing the drums was very inspirational to watch. All the songs had a message of love, support and hope for Haiti.
You can use social media networks to keep Haiti in the minds of the people and share true information about what is going on in Haiti.
Thank you to the organisers of this event and we hope that they exceeded their targets for the funds collected.
Check out the articles below:
- The Truth About Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic: An Interview with Dr. Renaud Piarroux | Black Agenda Report http://blackagendareport.com/content/truth-about-haiti%E2%80%99s-cholera-epidemic-interview-dr-renaud-piarroux
- The Uses of Haiti’s Poor Children: Guinea Pigs for Cholera Vaccines | Black Agenda Report http://blackagendareport.com/content/uses-haiti%E2%80%99s-poor-children-guinea-pigs-cholera-vaccines
- Haiti: Seven Places Where the Earthquake Money Did and Did Not Go | Black Agenda Report http://blackagendareport.com/content/haiti-seven-places-where-earthquake-money-did-and-did-not-go
By Charmaine Simpson